For anyone looking to change their fitness routine and want a workout that will allow them to strengthen their core, suffer fewer injuries, and build better muscle tone, Pilates should be a top consideration.
Pilates was initially designed to help dancers that were more prone to overuse injuries that came from exercising the same set of muscles day in and day out to better strengthen their abdominal, hip and gluteal muscles. This action was expected to prevent them from suffering more injuries and it worked. It allowed them to better balance out muscle tone across the body, making them stronger, more flexible, and more stable.
Now it has become a more mainstream workout routine that everyday people can similarly take advantage of as a low-impact exercise routine with many benefits. It involves performing a series of slow and controlled movements that flow into one another in a specific order. The moves help to correct the imbalance created by the overuse of certain muscles in daily routines. Though these movements can seem simple, they require precision and control to achieve the desired results. Here is what you have to look forward to if you stick with the routine.
Better muscle tone
Pilates helps people to build better muscle tone. The movements encourage the strengthening and stretching of limbs which allows for muscles to loosen up and become more flexible after a routine. It is not targeted at building muscle, but rather toning it, especially around the core. Keep in mind that the core is not just the abdomen, but also extends lower into the hips and up towards your back. As you work on the core, the benefits continue to spread across the body.
When you have a stronger core, it encourages proper posture. With better posture, there will be less tension created in the shoulders, back and legs. This tension typically builds up as we undertake normal day-to-day activities. When you have a strong core, it balances out the effects of this tension build-up, helping to relieve feelings of pain and discomfort that often occur in the shoulders, back and legs. Pilates movements are geared towards maintaining good alignments and balance that supports this. This effect is especially beneficial to those that work desk jobs and have a weak core, and those recovering from back injuries.
As Pilates helps to reduce incidents of overuse injuries, it thus means that people suffer less pain from such injuries. Its ability to promote a stronger core and better posture is also beneficial in providing relief for chronic back pain sufferers. Not only do such people experience pain relief that can reduce their reliance on pain medication, but they also gain better flexibility, balance, and mobility that can prevent future injuries.
Promotes cross training
The series of movements that are performed during Pilates is designed to build strength and flexibility. They are a good complement to other exercise routines as they promote cross-training that better challenges your body by adding variety. Cross-training also helps to reduce the risk of overuse injuries that come from repeatedly using just the same set of muscles when exercising. The added variation also has a positive impact on mental health as it makes it less likely that you will become bored with your fitness routine or suffer burnout that would make you feel discouraged to exercise.
While it is a low-impact exercise routine, some of its movements do have a cardio effect. This means you can expect to get your heart rate up which will help lower blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, aid in weight loss, regulate blood sugar, and provide a brain boost. Since the routines are focused on muscles, the toning and building of muscles will aid in burning calories and raising your heart rate. This effect is more pronounced when using a reformer. A reformer has springs that provide good support for energetic movements.
Pilates encourages people to become more aware of what is happening with their bodies. As they gradually switch into different positions and try to achieve the right posture, they are encouraged to pay attention to how their body is reacting. These body cues help in identifying their limits and allow them to try calming techniques like breath control to help relieve tension, anxiety and stress. Mindfulness during exercise also helps to improve sleep which can further boost mental health.
Pilates is mainly focused on strengthening and stretching muscles. These actions help to make muscles feel more flexible and looser. A benefit that has made it highly popular with dancers for decades. People that consistently follow the routine for at least eight weeks should begin to feel an improvement in their flexibility.
Simple to get started
While equipment like reformers are complicated and can be expensive, you do not need them to get started with Pilates. You can find many online classes that can guide you on how to perform the routines on just a mat. This is a good way to start as a beginner, but do not be discouraged if you find even the introductory classes a bit difficult. Consider attending a class that provides this more supportive equipment. You also have the benefit of an instructor that can better guide you on movements.
Pilates is a great workout that offers many benefits even for those that have been sedentary and want to get back to an active lifestyle. Beginners should ensure they work with a qualified instructor that will help train them. Take your time to learn the ropes and gradually increase the difficulty as your body becomes stronger and more flexible.
Also remember to combine it with other workout routines that will incorporate more cardio, resistance training, and deep stretching. This will ensure you have a more well-balanced fitness routine that will make for better results.